Hate to break it to you

A couple of posts back I wrote about impossible assignments that kids kept bringing into the library and how difficult it can be helping them find the required materials.

In the comments, Heidi made this very accurate observation, followed by my response to her.

Blogger Heidi said...

There are an unfortunate number of out-of-touch teachers, but, to be fair, what the teacher assigns and what the child thinks she means aren't always the same thing.

12:36 AM

Blogger Nemesis said...

Heidi, you are absolutely true. What's even worse is when you have the PARENT coming in looking for what their KID says that their TEACHER said. It's like a game of Telephone. Sometimes we just can't get anywhere and I have to say, "You know what? If you could find the original assignment and bring it in that will probably really, really help."

This reminded me, though, of a dad who came in and walked up to the reference desk.

Me: What can I do for you?

Him: I'm looking for Julius Caesar.

Me: Oh. . . he died.

(Note: This is what happens when I do not flip my "think before speaking" switch. After he looked startled and I apologized, we got to work.)

Him: It's for my son.

Me: Does he need a biography about Julius Caesar? What's the assignment?

Him: Um . . . I don't know. It just says "Julius Caesar" on this piece of scratch paper he gave me.

Me: Do you know what class it's for?

Him: No, I don't.

Me: Huh. Well, the thing is, we have lots of biographies about him, and we have books with "Julius Ceasar" as the title, but I'd hate to send you home with the wrong thing if you're not sure what he needs.

Him: I think I'll call my son.

Me: Sounds good, I'll wait.

Turns out, the kid needed a copy of the play "Julius Caesar" by William Shakespeare for his English class. Which . . . yeah. Like we were ever going to guess that.

This is why I always, always feel bad for parents who come into the library looking for what their kids told them they need for their assignment. Especially when it's for something that is due tomorrow and the parents just barely found out about it. And I always, always want to tell them that their lazy kids should be coming in their own dang selves. But hey, I don't know their life. Maybe it's a lot less painless if they just do it themselves.


Jenny said... [reply]

So you're saying a student capable of reading Julius Caesar by Shakespeare should also be capable of going to the library and picking it up himself? I don't know about that.

goddessdivine said... [reply]

C'mon. You can't expect today's kids to actually get off their duff. They're the "entitlement generation". Seriously; it's just getting worse.

(Honestly though, I'm surprised they didn't just get it AND the cliffnotes off the internet. Kids have it so much easier these days.)

FoxyJ said... [reply]

The other day we had a teenage girl come in and say "So, I need you to get my book that's on hold for me because it's too hard to find it myself." And then she helped herself to a giant handful of candy from the summer reading treat bucket that I'd accidentally left out. Sigh.

Whenever I run into kids like that I vow that my children will not grow up to act like that.

HAH said... [reply]

so how was the Shakespeare Festival? I'm heading down later this month.

westcoastsoul said... [reply]

At my library summer job I just read to kids and play games with them. Not much interacting with the public haha.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Another thing to file away in "when I teach again." Class blog. Assignments explained. PDF links to the actual assignments for when it is lost. Comments enabled for kids and parents with clarification and questions.

Breanne said... [reply]

A patron came up to me and my co-worker and asked, "Do you have Crucial Conversations?"

And I said, "Yes! We're having one right now!"

She looked startled, too.

elliespen said... [reply]

Um. Yeah, I'm definitely an English major because the Shakespeare play was the first thing I thought of when you mentioned Julius Caesar.

coolmom said... [reply]

People, take good care of your children and get through this faze and then you will be blessed to be a Grandparent!
In grandparentland there is no homework, no teachers, no coaches, (no parents if you can swing it - call for tips!) - so school work, no discipline, no bed times, just fun, fun, fun. Pure joy!

emandtrev said... [reply]

I love Jenny's comment. Perfect.

Brittney said... [reply]

Laughed out loud at your "oh...he died" answer!

FYI: I'm pretty sure you were on the guest list for this party: http://dearlillieblog.blogspot.com/2011/08/jane-austen-birthday-party.html

Heidi said... [reply]

Parents!!!!! There should be some sort of screener before people are allowed to mingle with the general population, let alone reproduce.

Mrs. Clark said... [reply]

I never, ever, went into the library without a kid to get a book. I made them do it; however, I remember one assignment my 3rd grader had to make a poster of the "cultural activities" of the ancient Greeks. Ooookaaaay. The subject was very broad, and I learned later that other kids had individual parts of it--such as theater, clothing, etc. Frustrating, but with the help of Kinko's color copier, we got it done. (Didn't have the Internet in those days!) Unfortunately, teachers give out a lot of vague assignments. I couldn't figure out what they wanted half the time.

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